Friday, May 20, 2016

One Two Buckle my Shoe


      I recently attended a week long Writer's Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin. I was tired as I set out for the six hour drive home, alone. My book on tape was putting me to sleep.  I had to stop often to stay awake. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I pulled over to stretch my legs near any antique shop or book store.
     Some time ago I decided not to add any more vintage quilts to my collection. Avoiding antique stores makes that easier but you guessed it. I found a quilt I had to buy. My 'rule' has a few exceptions - one being finding something I like that is so inexpensive that I can't pass it up.
       A dusty, cluttered little shop inhabited by an elderly lady reading a book in the middle of the floor, her little dog beside her, didn't look too promising. I scanned the room and wondered if I could politely make a quick exit. But then I thought, "As long as I'm here... you never know"....
       Up a rickety flight of stairs, the ceiling so low I had to crouch, I found a little crib quilt, not too clean, binding gone on one side and the rest faded and frayed. A tiny blank piece of paper about 1" x 1/2" was attached to the bottom of one corner with a straight pin.

 I couldn't read the price; she couldn't either. I waited.

"How about four dollars?" she said looking up at me.

I brought it home, worked on a couple of spots, and pushed it into the washing machine. Much better!

Binding Removed 


I took off the binding and found a good blue in my stash of solids. I trimmed the rough edges a bit and applied the new binding.










     My sister noticed that the animals were outlined in cross-stitch and thought that was unusual. That detail had escaped me and when I checked my other embroidered crib quilts I found she was right. None are outlined with cross-stitch. (I'll talk more about that and show my other examples in my next post)







The embroidery is done on a pre-quilted white cotton background as were many kits. Some work at hiding the threads in the batting layer.
This maker just left the ends of the threads showing on the back.







Here it is, rebound and refreshed ....

33" X 44"


Very sweet, don't you think?


ETC.
Here's a pair of pillowcases I also was unable to pass up on a different road trip. I do have a lot - I swore I would buy no more - but kitties? I didn't have kitties!





Rules are made to be broken.
Agreed?





Thursday, May 12, 2016

State Birds and Flowers Revisited

Recently I received two emails that revived my interest in continuing to write this blog.
 In May of 2011 I wrote a blog on a state birds and flowers quilt. Can that be?
Stop. That was FIVE years ago!
I need a minute.
Okay. I'm back. Phew.
Click on the link above to read about a quilt I saw displayed at an interstate rest stop. I knew it was a vintage pattern or kit.  That led me to research the pattern and write a blog about it. Now, years later, the information was of help to two women at about the same time. Both had some parts and pieces they were trying to make sense of.

Jenne Scigo sent me photos of her box of pieces and the progress she's now making on completing the top.





Coming along!












Linda Miller found a set of embroidered state blocks her mother had embroidered. She put the top together and wondered how it should be quilted. She did some research. The photos in my blog helped her see what the pattern recommended.
Both were grateful to be able to move forward on these projects that got interrupted for one reason or another. It's satisfying and rewarding work.
(Linda, if you are still reading my blog I can't find the photo you sent via email. If you'd send it to me again I'd love to add it to this space!)

How many partially done projects do you have in boxes, bags, drawers and cupboards? Isn't it lovely to think that someone, sometime in the future, will make the effort Linda and Jenne did to finish something you started with all the best intentions?

So I'll continue to post quilty things having been reminded that things on the internet are there forever and people are researching things every day.


Next: Recent addition to my crib quilt collection


Monday, March 21, 2016

Bricks #7 Update

16" x 18"
I've finished the top and back for this next piece in the Bricks series.

I was going to wait until I had it entirely done, but a few anxious friends suggested it was time to post another blog entry!

The process of sitting down with a pile of scraps from which to make the top was very interesting. I decided to work with the medallion style - starting with the center and working my way around.

I ended up making a bunch of little blocks or strips of things that were about the same width and then joining them in a way I liked. Using a design wall, I just put things up, stood back, moved things around, went back to the machine to customize a bit and went from there. The edges are wonky and will stay that way.

 I found it both fun and frustrating/stressful to work this way.



I used the photo of the original top to inspire the backing, as I mentioned in my last post, and ended up with this.


I plan to use a piece of flannel instead of batting, finish the edge in the pillowcase style and tie it with wool yarn.  . . maybe from the back? Then, I'll wash it in hot water so the yarn balls up.


I want this series of little quilts to represent a variety of patterns and techniques; edge treatments and finishing styles,




I am fighting against my original goal of using every single bit I can from this top before I say I'm done. It's a rule I may want to break. In any case, I will take a break from it after finishing #7 due to  some new and exciting developments.
I have three baby quilts to make for friends grand babies and, TA DA, a wedding quilt to think about for my newly engaged son and DIL to be! A busy year ahead.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Improvising - Bricks Series #7



It's time to get started with my experimentation. Last week I dumped out the baggie of small scraps from my on-going "Bricks" project and discovered that it's harder than I thought to 'just put things together'. One does need some sort of plan.

Based on the number of narrow strips in my collection, I decided to work with the 'housetop' style. So named in many of the Gee's Bend quilts, it's basically the log cabin concept;  a central shape surrounded by strips.




Just one block will complete my small top as in these bed-sized examples:



Or you can make numerous blocks and sew them together:




(Here is the original top again... 



...the mother of six little quilts so far.) 





  



My goal in this series is to use up all of the fabrics gleaned from the original top but it seems I will never get rid of it all!
In addition to the many small scraps left from the above quilts, I still have quite a lot of the original rectangles (3.5" x 6"). I decided to use some of them for the backing of #7 in a similar layout seen in the original top. They seemed a bit too large in scale for this little piece so I folded them in half and used a scissors to cut them into two pieces. I needed to trim some fraying edges and straighten crooked sides which I am doing with a scissors - 'by eye'.
I decided not to use any rotary cutters or measuring devices for this project. The resulting shapes will not be exactly the same in size so sewing them together should be interesting.


I'll share completed top and backing in a future post - hopefully soon.


For an inspiring look at more improvisational quilts see this site:

Improvisational Quilts of Susan Allen Hunter